Hana Hana & Blackflower Patisserie, Haymarket

Being back in Sydney means back to work. Fortunately for me, though, there was lunch and dessert to be had with C to break up the slow peri­od that is January. C was con­tent to eat dessert as lunch when we spoke the day before, but the idea of a sug­ar crash mid-after­noon at work did not seem like a good idea. The solu­tion? Have a small lunch, so we’d have plenty of room for dessert.

We headed to Hana Hana oppos­ite Market City for lunch. In Japan, some res­taur­ants have vend­ing machines out front where you push a but­ton for the food you want, insert coins to pay, and the machine spouts you a tick­et that you show to the chef behind the counter who makes the food for you on the spot. Hana Hana comes close to those res­taur­ants — you choose your food at a touch screen at the front, then go to the counter at the back to pay and receive your food. After you’re done eat­ing, you place your tray with your empty dishes etc. on a shelf, just as you do in some res­taur­ants in Japan. It’s fast food, but Japanese style.

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I had a half serving of udon in soup and a side of sashimi and salad. The udon was deli­cious with just enough chew­iness — often you get udon that’s over­cooked, so it just melts in your mouth (gross).

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They didn’t have the sashimi ready when we ordered, but they quickly made it for me on the spot. But I wouldn’t expect any less — the people who run the place are Japanese, and the Japanese are effi­cient almost to a fault.

After lunch, we head to Blackflower Patisserie. I’d pre­vi­ously blogged about their tend­ency for fusion and hence milder, less intense fla­vours. This time, how­ever, I was pleas­antly surprised.

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I had Mario’s Garden. Inside, it’s your stand­ard tiram­isu with cof­fee jelly. I was a bit irked that it came in a black con­tain­er, though, because isn’t it part of the beauty of cakes to be able to see it, and not just the top? Anyway, out­side you have the cutest Mario-inspired arrange­ment of a meringue mush­room, perched atop chocol­ate and matcha ‘soil’. By itself, the ‘soil’ is a bit much, but once you’ve man­aged to dig through and get a good dol­lop of tiram­isu with it, it’s quite an inter­est­ing twist on the tiram­isu in terms of tex­ture (in the ‘soil’), but also in terms of taste (in the matcha).

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C had Envy, which is a matcha-based cake with lay­ers of black ses­ame and white chocol­ate ganache. C was quite taken with the green tea fla­vours in the cake, though I found it to be a tad too bit­ter and too sweet. Neither of us could taste the black sea­same, even though we could see it, alas. Nonetheless, the pres­ence of intense fla­vours means that Blackflower Patisserie is back on my list of ‘stores with pretty cakes’!

Hana Hana is loc­ated at Shop 5, 209 Thomas Street, Haymarket NSW 2000Blackflower Patisserie is loc­ated at 37 Ultimo Road, Haymarket NSW 2000.